Yoga

Yoga is helping me see the physical impact of meditation on my body. I’ve always carried a tremendous amount of tension in my shoulders. When I started meditating I could basically count on some uncomfortable gross sensation in my left shoulder and arm. For about 1.5 years my arm carried these ever-changing uncomfortable sensations until as some point they stopped and I could feel a free flow down my arm. The strange thing is that I rarely felt these sensations when I wasn’t meditating, but back to yoga.

I was introduced to yoga over 10 years ago, long before I came to meditation. I distinctly remember disliking downward dog. My shoulders and hamstrings would hurt and nothing ever seemed to improve. In the last few weeks my shoulders have really started to open up. When I try a twist, the range of motion in my shoulders is really growing. I always looked at yoga as just exercise but meditation has helped me realize how much of it is mental when it’s practiced properly. I’m naturally present with the sensations of each posture without reacting. Over time, sensations rise up and pass away, just like on the cushion.

The most amazing thing to me is that this process is impacting my physical range of motion. My old mind would think, “this hurts and is uncomfortable, I hope it ends soon.” This mental craving was only making things worse. By maintaining equanimity with each posture I’m seeing significant progress in my yoga practice. Without meditation I was missing the point of yoga. Very cool! Time to meditate.

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About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

8 thoughts on “Yoga

    • Hi Chakresh. Thank you for these links. They help clarify the limitations of the popularized American version of yoga. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do with this new wisdom but I’m happy to know it’s out there.

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      • I notice this all the time. Every time I come back from 10-day course, the body becomes much more flexible though I suspend the asana practise during the 10-day course. Have you done Satipatthana sutta course?

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      • I’m taking the Satipatthana course next month. Did you notice an even deeper growth from that course?

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